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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:08 am 
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tstermitz wrote:
Are you thinking about breathing places or needing to fold, or what?


Yes those things are part of it.

I normally don't put breathing spots in when I write out something, I like having the full flow of 8th-notes like a fiddle/box might play, and I'll put in the breathing-spots at different places as I play through the repeats. It's actually a bit annoying for me to read a setting that has quarter-note pauses written in, it's sort of like having somebody trying to tell me where to breathe.

However there's a couple tunes where I am sort of boxed into breathing at the same spot every time, due to long passages that I feel are intrinsic to the tune, that I can't find a nice place to break for a breath. There's a jig like that, I can't remember the name, but it has a three or four bar passage that I don't like breaking, so I put in a breath before I hit that bit.

About folding, being that I'm a whistleplayer now rather than a fluter if a tune wants to sit at a lower place I'll just play it on a mezzo whistle. So, rather than staying on a D whistle and folding I'll transpose the whole tune and play it with no folding. Tam Lin/Glasgow Reel mentioned above is like that.

It's often not those things, but other things that are hard to put into words sometimes, that makes a setting feel nice under flute-fingers or feel alien or awkward. There are typical flute phrases that I'll substitute for what the setting has, where they feel right. Often it's putting in rolls where a setting has noodling around, too note-y, it's hard to put into words. I'll try to find examples.

EDIT:

I found this example, a setting of Star Of Munster. It's the first four bars of the 2nd part.

It's an extreme example, and I'm sure I will get some stick for it.

The top line is a setting I saw online. When I say a passage is "noodly" it's things like this, especially bar 3.

The second line is one of several ways I play that part. It was actually lifted from a fiddler I heard years ago at a session. I really liked the wildness to how he played, and I think it translates well to the flute and whistle.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:41 am 
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I'm sure I will get some stick for it.


Not necessarily. I do think you should distinction between adapting a tune for an instrument's character and adapting a tune to your own musical approach. I think you're doing the latter here rather than the former.

The beauty of the (high) whistle is that it's so agile, you can both create space in your tunes and fill in gaps, make a tune more dense, noodly, to use your phrase, and still be in character with the instrument. The Star of Munster is perhaps a 'noodly' tune and you can play around with that as you go along playing it, contrasting simplified bits with more intricate parts each time you pass through, if you're into that sort of thing.

But, to get back to your point, this appears to be more about musical vocabulary than adapting to the instrument's need and wants. I think the beauty of Irish music is that as long as you observe a few basic rules and know what you're doing (ie when your have a thorough grounding in it) you are extremely free to alter and move around any tune and make it your own. I always think the great musicians had (and I use the past tense deliberately here, we live in different times and modern musicians are to an extend more bound to what tunepal on their phone tells them about a tune, changing the process of transmission dramatically) the knack of playing a tune as they heard it. Using a stock of musical phrases to connect up the important notes that carry the tune. And different people had different stock phrases or a wider array of them. I have always been amazed by Séamus Ennis music and the apparent way he seemed to remember tunes. His memory appears to have stored tunes as outlines, structures that he often filled in on the fly. My point being : some musicians have/had a way with a tune typical to them, their footprint of signature or whatever you want to call it would be recognisable in the tune. And if you know their music well enough, you'd recognise who's setting you're hearing, or even looking at in written form, from how a particular phrase was played.

I can recall talking to older musicians, when I was younger myself, about unusual versions of tunes they had. Often you'd get a story how they heard some one play a tune, on the radio, at a dance or whatever and they went home with the tune in their head. One musicianer said of one particular tune he heard it at a dance, tried to memorise it as best he could, kept singing it in his head, unable to talk to his friend on the long walk home for fear of loosing it, until he came home and was able to put it on the whistle. The tune was wildly different from any other version I had heard but the key notes were there and how they connected was perfectly in sync with the other tunes in the man's repertoire. Musical language, and language with a particular, personal accent to it.

I think that's to an extend what you're doing there with the Star of Munster. Would I do it that way? Not necessarily but it's the way you do it and that perfectly fine. You won't be getting stick about that. But it's not adapting the tune to the instrument.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:40 am 
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That's a great post, and a great description, which I agree with, except for one tiny part:
Quote:
I always think the great musicians had (and I use the past tense deliberately here, we live in different times and modern musicians are to an extend more bound to what tunepal on their phone tells them about a tune, changing the process of transmission dramatically) the knack of playing a tune as they heard it

I don't agree that all modern musicians are like this. I think that access to musicians is simply greater, so we hear and see more of the musicians who try to stick to the "correct" version and are picky about getting it right. I think there are plenty of young(er) musicians who change things up based on how they hear the tune. I do agree that the process of transmission of a tune has changed, though, so who knows. I actually have much more complex thoughts about this, but I'll leave it for now, since I love your post.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:51 am 
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I was generalising a bit and in fairness I qualified the statement to make sure it showed I didn't think it applied to all musicians. The tunepal thing is an issue, perhaps more prevalent in naming tunes : I see a lot of instances of people taking up names that come straight from thesession.org. 'I buried my wife and danced on her grave' rather than the traditional 'I buried my wife and danced on top of her' being one of my bugbears (try sing the title to the first phrase of the tune and see which one you think is right) but to an extend there some of it happening with regards to settings as well.

I feel that the ease of finding notations and playing in sessions are homogenising music, in some musicians anyway. It's a shame. There are also musicians deliberately cultivating regional and personal styles so perhaps that balances out things.

It's important to be able to hear a footprint of a musician's influences in their playing, a lineage if you like, where their music came from. That is more important than playing homogenised 'session settings' (session playing is another skill again so I will let things involved with that rest for the sake of clarity).

FWIW, I usually try hard to avoid falling into the trap of complaining about what generation after my own are doing because there's a lot of lovely music out there (I have been revisiting the 'Tunes in the church' recording this week, hard to beat the musicianship on that one).

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:22 am 
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I generally agree with you, but just for the sake of some counterpoints:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
'I buried my wife and danced on her grave' rather than the traditional 'I buried my wife and danced on top of her' being one of my bugbears (try sing the title to the first phrase of the tune and see which one you think is right)

Technically neither is right, since it's in O'Farrell's as "The soup of good drink", so... :)

Quote:
I feel that the ease of finding notations and playing in sessions are homogenising music, in some musicians anyway. It's a shame. There are also musicians deliberately cultivating regional and personal styles so perhaps that balances out things.

There's definitely some homogenising effects... but isn't homogenization the source of "regional" styles in the first place?

As you say, there's plenty of great musicians cultivating regional and/or personal styles, same as there's plenty of people copying the greats' styles (just like how Padraig O'Keefe was so influential), so I don't think it's a big problem.

Anyway, I agree with the rest - I'm lucky to be friends with a few really amazing young(er) Irish musicians here in the US and Canada, who are cultivating personal styles and are definitely not homogenized at all. I keep saying young(er) because most of us are in our 30s now... not so young really.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:37 am 
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Technically neither is right, since it's in O'Farrell's as "The soup of good drink", so..


But how did Garrett Barry have it? :P

I suppose you step into the issue of lineage, do you want to retain how Garrett Barry>Nell Galvin>Willie Clancy had it or do you ascribe the printed version the greater authority. That's a choice to make. I learned mine off Liam O'Flynn who was the next step in line of that lineage.

It's a way of tipping your hat to the musicians who went before. Around here some musicians call 'The Hunt' 'The Mount Famous Hunt', a misinterpretation perhaps of the Mount Phoebus Hunt. They all know it's not perhaps how it should be but using it they acknowledge the older local musicians of a previous generation, in this case Thady Casey, who had the name. Footprints again. And a consideration when choosing a name to use.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:09 am 
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I thought that was a great post to read over my morning coffee Mr G, despite a slight detour from the original topic. :P I also didn't feel like it was meant to be "cane shaking" at "those darn kids". It's something i've thought a lot about since starting this journey of playing ITM just a few short years ago. I'm lucky enough to play with a guy who was born in Derry and after relocating to my town as a youngster had his mom host a trad local radio program in which she would play classic Irish songs and tunes but also a lot of regional tunes that were passed down to her by record or by ear. She passed them to her son and he to me. It was a bit of a journey to get here but get here it did. looking up tunes online or debating on a music forum has always seemed a bit soul-less but sometimes it's all we have when traditions die with the older generation who didn't always write things down or pass on what they knew. I don't know that I'll ever get it right but I'm willing to give it a shot. First I need to learn the generic tunes I think.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:51 pm 
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Ah, but where did Garrett Barry get it from (and did someone get it from that book in the lineage before him)? Interesting thought about tipping your hat to the musicians who went before... at some point that would mean that I buried my wife and danced on her grave is actually the better name to use (if that's the name used by the person you got from). At any rate, names are less important than the tune.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:28 pm 
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I would submit that ´The Soup of good drink´ is itself an error in transmission. The more likely intended title would be ´The Stoup of Good Drink´. Now, using ´stoup´ for flagon has a bit of waggish humour, since ´stoup´ can also mean a basin of holy water.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:07 am 
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I didn't sleep very well but around four in the morning I had a bit of a lightbulb moment, as you do: I have a tune I have had for decades, I don't really have a name for it. It came from a Paddy Carty recording. In his 'Golden Eagle' collection, Donncha O Briain called it 'The Sup of Good Drink' : ~E3 ~G2 A BeB dBd edB GAB ~A3 A------ I finally made the link to DAD ~F2 G AdB cAG ~F3--- :tomato:


This one, if anyone wants a project for the day.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:18 am 
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:shock:

Man, I know that tune (reading the first few notes immediately brings Carty's playing into my mind) - now I'll need to learn it.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:20 am 
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It's a handy little tune. I don't play it that often but I don't tend to forget it either.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:41 am 
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According to irishtune.info, it was composed by Tommy Mulhaire, but I suppose that's not exactly accurate...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:00 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
I didn't sleep very well but around four in the morning I had a bit of a lightbulb moment, as you do: I have a tune I have had for decades, I don't really have a name for it. It came from a Paddy Carty recording. In his 'Golden Eagle' collection, Donncha O Briain called it 'The Sup of Good Drink' : ~E3 ~G2 A BeB dBd edB GAB ~A3 A------ I finally made the link to DAD ~F2 G AdB cAG ~F3--- :tomato:


This one, if anyone wants a project for the day.


Did you just infect me with your ear worm? Really nice sounding tune. I think my dance card may be full for now but it would be a good one to long list. Do you have all the notes? :poke:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:18 am 
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Taking Nico's lead above: https://thesession.org/tunes/1433, second setting

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